.."Being overweight or obese is perhaps the major predisposing factor for sleep apnea. Being overweight likely contributes in two ways. First, when you are overweight extra fat tissue will build up throughout your body, including along your airway. This may lead to some narrowing -- especially in the throat -- that could make it more prone to obstruction while you sleep.
In addition, the extra pounds may serve as an external pressure that accomplishes the same thing. Imagine a 30-pound bag of sand sitting on your chest or stomach. It’s no wonder that this extra weight can disrupt your breathing. Individuals with large necks are especially at risk for apnea because the pressure is more direct.
Taken from About.com.
Large Necks? How large and above what size....
..."As your collar size grows, so does your risk of heart disease.
It's true for both men and women: Neck fat adds to your risk of heart disease, over and above the known heart risk from belly fat.
The finding comes from data collected from 3,320 people in two studies of heart disease risk factors.
Belly fat -- specifically, fatty deposits around the organs of the central body -- is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Sarah Rosner Preis, ScD, MPH, and colleagues theorized that upper-body fat, as measured by neck circumference, also raises heart risk.
Sure enough, they found that the bigger a person's neck size, the greater that person's risk of high levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and blood fat, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar. This held true even after controlling for belly fat.
Taken from Webmd.com
Hold on a minute, so does this mean a large neck will not only give you sleep apnea but another chance of heart trouble? So thats double chance of a heart attack.
My neck is 17 inches is this big or small?
Well according to the chart Im a X-Large so maybe there is something in neck sizes but what else....
Most cases of OSA are believed to be caused by:
old age (natural or premature),
brain injury (temporary or permanent),
decreased muscle tone,
increased soft tissue around the airway (sometimes due to obesity), and
structural features that give rise to a narrowed airway.
Decreased muscle tone can be caused by drugs or alcohol, or it can be caused by neurological problems or other disorders. Some people have more than one of these issues. There is also a theory that long-term snoring might induce local nerve lesions in the pharynx in the same way as long-term exposure to vibration might cause nerve lesions in other parts of the body. Snoring is a vibration of the soft tissues of the upper airways, and studies have shown electrophysiological findings in the nerves and muscles of the pharynx indicating local nerve lesions.
There are patterns of unusual facial features that occur in recognizable syndromes. Some of these craniofacial syndromes are genetic, others are from unknown causes. In many craniofacial syndromes, the features that are unusual involve the nose, mouth and jaw, or resting muscle tone, and put the individual at risk for OSA syndrome.
Down syndrome is one such syndrome. In this chromosomal abnormality, several features combine to make the presence of obstructive sleep apnea more likely. The specific features in Down syndrome that predispose to obstructive sleep apnea include: relatively low muscle tone, narrow nasopharynx, and large tongue. Obesity and enlarged tonsils and adenoids, conditions that occur commonly in the western population, are much more likely to be obstructive in a person with these features than without them. Obstructive sleep apnea does occur even more frequently in people with Down syndrome than in the general population. A little over 50% of all people with Down syndrome suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (de Miguel-Díez, et al. 2003), and some physicians advocate routine testing of this group (Shott, et al. 2006).
In other craniofacial syndromes, the abnormal feature may actually improve the airway, but its correction may put the person at risk for obstructive sleep apnea after surgery, when it is modified. Cleft palate syndromes are such an example. During the newborn period, all humans are obligate nasal breathers. The palate is both the roof of the mouth and the floor of the nose. Having an open palate may make feeding difficult, but generally does not interfere with breathing, in fact,if the nose is very obstructed, then an open palate may relieve breathing. There are a number of clefting syndromes in which the open palate is not the only abnormal feature; additionally there is a narrow nasal passage - which may not be obvious. In such individuals, closure of the cleft palate- whether by surgery or by a temporary oral appliance, can cause the onset of obstruction.
Skeletal advancement in an effort to physically increase the pharyngeal airspace is often an option for craniofacial patients with upper airway obstruction and small lower jaws (mandibles). These syndromes include Treacher Collins syndrome and Pierre Robin sequence. Mandibular advancement surgery is often just one of the modifications needed to improve the airway, others may include reduction of the tongue, tonsillectomy or modified uvulopalatoplasty.
OSA is a also serious post-operative complication that seems to be most frequently associated with pharyngeal flap surgery, compared to other procedures for treatment of velopharyngeal inadequacy (VPI). In OSA, recurrent interruptions of respiration during sleep are associated with temporary airway obstruction. Following pharyngeal flap surgery, depending on size and position, the flap itself may have an "obturator" or obstructive effect within the pharynx during sleep, blocking ports of airflow and hindering effective respiration. There have been documented instances of severe airway obstruction, and reports of post-operative OSA continue to increase as healthcare professionals (i.e. physicians, speech language pathologists) become more educated about this possible dangerous condition. Subsequently, in clinical practice, concerns of OSA have matched or exceeded interest in speech outcomes following pharyngeal flap surgery.
The surgical treatment for velopalatal insufficiency may cause obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. When velopalatal insufficiency is present, air leaks into the nasopharynx even when the soft palate should close off the nose. A simple test for this condition can be made by placing a tiny mirror at the nose, and asking the subject to say "P". This p sound, a plosive, is normally produced with the nasal airway closed off - all air comes out of the pursed lips, none from the nose. If it is impossible to say the sound without fogging a nasal mirror, there is an air leak - reasonable evidence of poor palatal closure. Speech is often unclear due to inability to pronounce certain sounds. One of the surgical treatments for velopalatal insufficiency involves tailoring the tissue from the back of the throat and using it to purposefully cause partial obstruction of the opening of the nasopharynx. This may actually cause OSA syndrome in susceptible individuals, particularly in the days following surgery, when swelling occurs (see below: Special Situation: Anesthesia and Surgery).
Taken from Wiki...
So thats several ways of getting this illness now. I guess for me it must be weight gain that caused it as the other possible causes did not feature and the only other posible cause was of me gaining weight. Does this mean that if I lose weight Im cured? Maybe I should start smoking again for the sake of my health as it will have a dramatic effect on my weight but I dont think its as simple as that, it may have been the cause of it but I beleive that losing weight wont cure me but would just ease the symptoms.
I thinking smoking again would be a serious error on my part. I believe that the only option is for me to shed the pounds and see what happens, at least I can try.
..but what about you? Do you have a large neck or have gained pounds, do you know how you caught OSA?